The evil men do or did in the past will always follow them, just as the fear of the anti graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is the beginning of wisdom for billionaire businessman and lawyer, Tunde Ayeni.
The dirty and ugly past of the now vice chairman of ntel recently reared its ugly and monstrous head when the present management of Skye Bank Plc wrote vividly to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, detailing how Tunde Ayeni, chairman of the bank between 2010 and 2016, allegedly wrecked the bank, among other financial misdemeanours, during this period, almost grinding the bank to a halt. In a series of letters and documents, the management listed details of how Ayeni allegedly used his office to perpetrate illegality and financial recklessness. For the record, after sending several warnings, the CBN had taken over Skye Bank on July 4, 2016. Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN, said then that the action followed the failure of the lender to meet the regulator’s minimum key liquidity and capital adequacy ratios. Ayeni had resigned after the development and CBN announced the appointment of Muhammad Ahmad as the new chairman, while Adetokunbo Abiru took over from Timothy Oguntayo as group managing director (GMD). In the ensuing twist, through a letter signed by Abiru and Ahmad, the bank gave details of how Ayeni allegedly used loans from the bank to acquire major government companies. The letter read inter alia, “Upon the assumption of duty by the new board, one of the immediate concerns that needed to be addressed was to ascertain the true state of the affairs and financial position of the bank and the credibility of the IT and information systems of the bank; to this end, the following were undertaken: engagement of PWC do to half-year audit as of June 30, 2016. This was later extended to cover the full year to December 31, 2016; engagement of KPMG to do a forensic audit of the bank’s IT platform and management information systems; the forensic audit revealed that the bank operated two sets of financial accountability/books and this was responsive for the regulators/auditors inability to detect the massive losses and infractions, particularly the balance of N280bn in suspense accounts.’’ “The bank’s total exposure to Ayeni as of the date is about N70bn. It is clear that he used his position as the chairman of the bank to obtain inside loans well above the regulatory thresholds for the acquisition of the following government enterprises: Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Yola Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and Nitel/Mtel. All the facilities are presently seriously challenged. As of today, Ayeni’s total industry indebtedness, covering both Nitel and the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) is estimated at about N150bn, and little, if any, of these obligations, are being doubtful that he will ever be in a position to service these loans satisfactorily.” The letter also said another N33 billion was traced to Ayeni, saying there was suspicion that out of this amount, N7 billion was spent on the re-election campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan. “The sum of N7bn was disbursed without due process to various individuals and corporate organizations on the request of Godknows Igali, a former permanent secretary of the federal ministry of power. The monies appear to have been expended essentially on the Jonathan-Sambo electoral campaign in 2015. That sum remains outstanding as at today. There is ample evidence that he (Ayeni), among others, received large amounts of cash, totaling N29.5bn, from the bank, which appears to be connected to the purchase of Mainstreet Bank Limited, but which has not been accounted for. He was instrumental in the approval and disbursement of the liquidity management which went on throughout his tenure.” The management thus recommended that the government assist it to seize Ayeni’s assets. The former chairman should be brought to account for his central role in many of the identified infractions, they insisted. We have been able to perfect the debenture on the fixed and floating assets of Natcom, the vehicle that was used for the acquisition of Nitel and Mtel with asset estimated at N282bn (Open market value) and N183bn (forced sale value) by Knight Frank in 2014. This will put us in a position to place the company into receivership for recovery. However, in order to come to fruition, this approach will require strong and unyielding support from the regulatory and political authorities in the country. Since this startling revelation in the letter, it has been one trouble or the other for the former Skye Bank chairman. If you recall, he was several months back detained by the EFCC over a one billion naira that developed wings via the Aso Savings and Loans scheme loan scam between him and the then minister for the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed. His time at the Skye Bank as chairman saw to the desecration of the bank’s fortune, as the bank is still in deep trouble today due to the flagrant mismanagement of funds and resources under his watch. Today, he lives in palpable fear; little wonder the suave and ambitious investor has virtually recoiled into his shell in recent times, after running in the dark to people that can save him from the dangling sword of Damocles. Those in the know of his trappings are quick to divulge the monumental gravity of his misdemeanors during the defunct Jonathan era, and will readily tell you that he was even more magnanimous than the allegations of economic sabotage said to have been committed by the likes of Ifeanyi Ubah, Jide Omokore, Kola Aluko and others. He was also linked as conduit pipe to the massive oil loot that ran into billions of dollars, during the exploitative tenure of embattled Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke as Petroleum minister. Despite being the executive vice-chairman of fledgling telecoms outfit, ntel communications, which has General TY Danjuma as the Chairman and also on the side, the Chairman of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, and on top of other plum investments. However, the scale of his misappropriations and damming allegations were still puzzling many people, when it suddenly filtered out revealing his shady and ignoble past. And just as Ayeni is still battling with his many travails, the management of ntel announced recently the appointment of one Abhulime Ehiagwina as the acting CEO in replacement of Kamar Abass, its pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. This move is seen as one of Tunde Ayeni to covertly subsist himself in the good books of the company’s shareholders, as Ehiagwina may likely be one of his goons specifically planted by Tunde Ayeni to cover his ugly tracts, thereby giving the impression that he (Ayeni) is a good manager of resources. But you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Ayeni’s past will soon catch up with him at the appointed time, albeit defenselessly.